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Posted 12.10.17

Hepworth, Japanese ceramics & the seaside town of St Ives

By Rachel Holland, Louis Dyson and Katryna Cumbers: Guest blog

A new cohort of Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students recently returned from a field trip to St Ives, exploring galleries and bonding with their fellow students, as one of their first group outings since joining the college this year.

Foundation Diplomas in Art & Design are an excellent way to nurture creativity and confidence, designed to offer ambitious students the opportunity to spend an intensive year immersing themselves in discovery, experimentation and exploration of different artistic disciplines that are unavailable in conventional education settings.

Situated in Palace Studios, our new campus dedicated to Foundation Diploma students, graduating students leave prepared for competitive degree-level study in the visual arts, with many going on to study on one of our BA (Hons) degrees.

Three of our new Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students tell us about the trip and their hopes for the coming year...

Louis Dyson

We’re all new to Plymouth College of Art, and visiting St Ives gave us the chance to bond as a group and explore our creative potentials. The town provided plenty of galleries and areas to explore and use in our studies.

We spent a lot of the day in the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Gardens, photographing and sketching the sculptures within the space. It gave us a chance to collaborate, comparing our work and projects with each other, and I found I was able to break the ice with a lot of people through the trip. I feel optimistic about the upcoming year and happy to be involved with some really great people on the Foundation Diploma.

Exploring new ideas and settling into Palace Studios.

Rachel Holland

We visited St Ives with the objective of making links between our personal journeys, the journey we took around the coastal town, and with the artist works that we saw there. The free reign we were given allowed us to tailor our outcomes to our personal interests, which for me was the ceramics scene within local galleries.

For instance, New Craftsman Gallery had two ceramics artists that I have been inspired by. Yuta Segawa is a Japanese artist who is breaking new ground in contemporary ceramics by hand throwing miniature pottery, developing himself as a micro craftsman. Because his work is addressing the limits of the human hand by creating such small pots, it poses questions about the practical element of ceramics.

As a result, I have begun experimenting with scale in my own work. Another Japanese born ceramicist whose work is currently exhibited in the gallery is Akiko Hirai. She considers domestic wares as both practical and as artworks, so has produced a collection that reflects this idea of curating our home environments. My experience of St Ives was such a good opportunity to find new artists, and the pasties weren’t half bad either!

Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students in our new campus, Palace Studios.

Katryna Cumbers

Our trip to St Ives was lovely! It was like being in a sunny, colourful island; filled with character, art and a lot of ice cream! Our first destination was the Barbara Hepworth museum, which was beautifully composed as they used her home to exhibit her work.

Hepworth's garden was the main attraction, filled with all sizes of abstract yet human-like sculptures. Although sculpture never really interested me before the trip, seeing her work displayed in such a personal way made me feel more open-minded about the idea of fine art and sculpture. Overall, St Ives was a great start to our foundation degree and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Find out more about our Foundation Diploma in Art & Design.